Using ISABPA for Proactive and Reactive Work with ISA Server – Part 2 of 2


1. Introduction


 


This week we launched ISA BPA V7 and this is a great opportunity to continue the explanation on how ISABPA can be useful for proactive and reactive work. Last session I explained how you can use ISA BPA for proactive work with ISA Server. This session will explain the benefits of using ISABPA while troubleshooting an issue.


 


2. ISA Data Packager


 


Besides the ISABPA itself, when you install this tool a group of programs is created within Microsoft ISA Server group as you can see in Figure 1:


 



Figure 1 – Tools that are installed by ISA BPA.


 


ISA Data Packager is a data gathering tool that can assist you to collect a set of data in one single shot. Let’s use as an example a scenario where user can’t access certain web sites. You can launch the ISA Data Packager and the first screen will present you the templates that are available:


 


 


Figure 2 – ISA Templates.


 


The template that you will choose will depend on the scenario that you are dealing with; here are some examples of usability of the main templates:


 









































Scenario


Template


Unable to access Internet


Web Proxy and Web Publishing


Unable to access some parts of the web site


Get prompt for authentication when accessing a web site


OWA Exchange Publishing rule not working


Sharepoint Publishing rule no working


Unable to establish a VPN Site to Site


VPN


Unable to connect from a client to ISA using PPTP or L2TP


VPN


When I open my ISA Console I receive a 0x800 Error and nothing shows up


ISA Administration


ISA Console is crashing


Firewall Policy doesn’t show the rules


Monitoring / Configuration shows one node is not out of Sync


Configuration Storage Server


When accessing Internet Firewall Client turns red.


Firewall Client (NEW in ISABPA7)


Collect data from ISA Server to review the configuration later (no issue to reproduce)


Basic Repro and Static Configuration


 


Next step is to choose the template according to the scenario, for this example I’m going to chose Web Proxy and Web Publishing. After select and click Next you will see the following screen:


 


 


Figure 3 – Summary of the default selections


 


A set of options are selected by default when you choose the template, those options will vary according to the template that was previously selected. Notice that ISAInfo Report is not selected, which is something that is very useful since with this information you will be able to review all the details from this particular ISA box. In case you want to add that in your data collection you just need to click Modify Options and the following screen will appear:


 


 


Figure 4 – Changing default Options.


 


Here are some other guidelines about this screen:


·         If you are having issues such as prompt for authentication when browsing internet, or ISA Server losing the secure channel with the DC, make sure to enable the option Netlogon Logging.


·         If you are not dealing with Performance issue, disable the option Performance Monitor Snapshot.


·         If you are using MSDE Database for logging and you want to collect data from it, select MSDE Error Logs.


·         Change Tracking is NEW in ISABPA7.


 


After making the selection, click Start Data Collection and wait until the option press space bar to continue appears as shown in Figure 5:


 


 


Figure 5 – Starting capture.


 


At this point you should go to the workstation that is facing the problem and reproduce the issue that you are having. After reproduce the issue press space bar again in the collecting data window and wait until the CAB is generated.


 


3. Now What?


 


ISA Data Packager Creates a file called ISAPackage.CAB, by default located in the desktop. This file contains the following folder / files:


 



































































Folder


File(s)


Description


BpaDataPackagerLogFiles


BpaDataPackagerLogFile.txt


This is the ISA Data Packager Log that has information about the moment of the data collection. You will use this file to troubleshoot issues where the Data Packager failed to run for example.


IDP.2009-5-7.9-8-29.trace.log


Verbose logging for ISA Data Packager, also used to troubleshoot ISA Data Packager itself.


BpaReportFiles


BPAReport_ISACONTN1_200905070911.xml


This is the ISA BPA Health Check report that you can load using the ISA BPA Tool.


BPAReport_ISACONTN1_200905070911.xml.log


Log for data collection of the ISA BPA, used to troubleshoot ISA Health Check itself.


 


IsaConfigExport.200905070911.xml


This is the export configuration of the ISA Server. Consider this your backup if you never made one, here it goes.


EventViewerEvents


Application.evt


NEW on BPA7 – this is the export of the Application log in EVT format.


EventViewer_ErrorEvents6.csv


Only errors events (windows event viewer events) in CSV format.


EventViewer_IsaEvents6.csv


Only ISA errors events logged in windows event viewer.


System.evt


NEW on BPA7 – this is the export of the System log in EVT format.


IsaInfoFiles


ISAInfo_isacontn1.log


Log for data collection of the ISA Info, used to troubleshoot ISA Info itself.


ISAInfo_isacontn1.xml


ISAInfo file that you can open using ISA Info tool from ISA Tools .org.


ISALogs


IsaLogs_Firewall_TextEXT_200905070911.csv


Firewall Logging in CSV format.


IsaLogs_WebProxy_TextEXT_200905070911.csv


Web Proxy Logging in CSV format.


IsaTraces


isalog.bin


Files used by Microsoft CSS Engineers only since they require internal symbols to parse it.


manifest.txt


NetworkCaptures


External_20090507090839.cap


Network Capture from the external interface. Correct, you don’t need to start netmon separately when using ISA Data Packager.


LocalCorp_20090507090839.cap


Network Capture from the Internal interface.


 


Note1: amount of files and folders will vary according to the template that you choose.


Note 2: file name will vary according to the date of the day.


 


4. Conclusion


 


With this set of data you have enough data to start troubleshooting the issue that you are facing with ISA Server. You have logs, network captures and capability to read ISA Server configuration. My recommendation is that you install this tool in your lab, and start to test simple scenarios so you get used to read those logs. Try to simulate simple issues in your lab and look the logs to see what you can do to fix the issue.


 

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    1. Introduction When we think that we had covered all scenarios to mitigate possible issues with change

  2. Anonymous says:

    amazing work..one of the most detailed blog posts ever!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Background: I recently had a case where web proxy clients were randomly being prompted for credentials

  4. Anonymous says:

    One of the really nice things about supporting ISA/TMG is that there are so many tools to assist us when